Sunday’s game with the Seattle Seahawks is a big one for the Los Angeles Rams. Not just because the Rams lost so badly on Monday Night Football, but this will be the first regular season game they will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since the Rams, under former owner Georgia Frontiere, moved the team to Anaheim for the 1980 season.
What we know for certain about the Rams’ “quarterback question” is that Case Keenum is still the starting QB and Jared Goff will be the #2 on the depth chart. Fan favorite Sean Mannion will suit up and be the #3.
On Friday coach Jeff Fisher spoke to the media about Goff getting activated for the game. “He’s really excited about it. He’s going to be two and he’s ready to play. He’s got some reps throughout the week, good for him. It’s exciting for him, just knowing that he’s a snap away from going into the game – he was here until the wee hours last night preparing, as he should.”
What the offense needs to take care of is Seattle’s pass rush. Fisher said, “They’re really good especially, you know, they come from all over the place, they win one-on-ones, they’re great at executing pass-rush games – they can really put pressure on you.”
Offensive coordinator Rob Boras said, “They’re really good at what they do and they’re not real complicated and that’s why these battles that we’ve had over the last four years have been so fun – because we do what we do, and they do what they do and we’re going to find out who does it better.”
The Seahawks are also great against the run, which will be a challenge for Todd Gurley, the second year running back and the NFL 2015 Rookie of the Year. Boras said, “It’s hard in the run game. Their gap integrity, they’re athletic, they have playmakers up front and we try to get some misdirection and try to find a way to get Todd loose to try to create one of those explosives. But they’re as good as anybody at making that difficult.”
Coach Fisher is happy with the Rams’ running backs. “Todd’s (Gurley) going to go, and (RB) Benny’s (Cunningham) going to spell him, and if we need to call on (RB) Malcolm (Brown) we will. But I’m happy with where the running backs are.”
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson injured his ankle in last week’s game against the Miami Dolphin. But all week the reports from Seattle has been that Wilson has not missed any practices, so defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was asked about playing a possibly injured Wilson. Williams said, “we’re assuming he’s fine, because I have a lot of respect. He’s one of the few offensive guys I wouldn’t mind playing on defense. He’s tough now, I will tell you this: he has a lot of great instincts of an athlete; things you can’t coach. So, we’re going to be assuming that he’s fine. As we’ve heard the injury reports all week long, he’s been practicing full, and been doing okay with that. But in the course of the game, we have to be able to adjust to whatever is going on. We’ll see on how it goes, but he’s very, very intelligent on how he goes about running the game.”
He was asked if the Rams defense has practiced defending against the scrambling quarterback. “We’ve practiced that an awful lot because of him. Because we have to make sure that we’re knowing what we’re doing against that opponent.”
Before the game gets started, before the National Anthem is even performed, fans coming to the game early will be treated to a short concert featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the best musical acts to come out of Los Angeles. Fans need to be in their seats by 12:35 to see and hear their entire set.
Singing the National Anthem will be CeeLo Green.
The Rams will honor the team’s Hall-of-Fame players: Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood. They will kick off a new Rams tradition of lighting the Olympic Torch after the coin toss.
Family members of Rams Hall-of-Famers George Allen, Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen will be in attendance to honor the legacy of the Los Angeles Rams.
What might be more striking when the teams take the field will be the royal blue and yellow throw back uniforms the Rams will be wearing for this game. Offensive lineman Pace Murphy told our reporter Claudia Gestro, “It’s going to be great. Coming back to L.A., being able to put on the uniforms that were originally worn in L.A., it’s going to be exciting. Hopefully for the fans and everyone in the stadium.”
Some traditions started in St. Louis will continue in Los Angeles. The defensive line and its coach, former Marine Mike Waffle, will donate $100 for every sack the Rams get to fight homelessness in Los Angeles.
Coach Fisher and a number of his staff members, plus many of the players and front office personnel have purchased a record number of season tickets to give to local charities.
The Rams plan to kick off their Los Angeles reboot in style.
Game time is 1:05 p.m. Pacific Time.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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